We’ve all heard that stock phrase from fusty teachers and parents: “Video games will rot your brain!” But real gamers will know this definitely isn’t the case.
In fact, there have been numerous studies to show that playing video games actually increases brain function, problem-solving, management skills and comes with a whole bunch of other positive attributes. So just in time for the new academic year, here’s a list of video games that might also be able to teach you a thing or two — find out more in the video above.
Flight Simulator really can teach you to fly a plane, and there’s a true story to prove it. A kid in America entered himself into Primary Flight Training at a real naval air station. After excelling at his training and making the admirals list, he was asked where he’d flown before. He replied: “Well, I used to play Flight Simulator on the weekends.” A year later both the Navy and the Air Force added Microsoft Flight Simulator to their flight training programmes.
Minecraft is already being used in some school curriculums for the way in which it can teach engineering and coding. The ultimate creator’s game, Minecraft players are making everything from a Kings Landing the size of Los Angeles to an actual working computer with RAM. As well as fostering creativity, anyone who’s played the game for long enough knows that redstone circuits quickly teach you about logic gates and the basics of computer programming.
Frog Fractions teaches you maths — but not that much about amphibians.
Rocksmith teaches you how to play guitar. It’s like Guitar Hero except you plug in any real guitar and play along using the actual strings. So you actually learn to play a guitar, not a plastic five buttoned controller. (Sorry to break the news to Guitar Hero Expert Level pros.)
Plants Vs Zombies
Plants Vs Zombies teaches you forward planning. In almost every video game, you have to think ahead to some degree, but in Plants Vs Zombies, when you put a Plant down it could be to stop a Zombie that won’t show up for several minutes. In fact, this kind of forward planning goes for any tower defence game. This might sound tame, but it’s probably the most transferable — and therefore, valuable — skill on this list.
Kerbal Space Program
Kerbal Space Program teaches you rocket science. Literally. A game about building interplanetary vehicles from scratch, it teaches you about orbital nodes and sidereal periods (see, it even sounds smart) as well as how to make an expensive explosion. This one will make your science teacher proud.
Dwarf Fortress teaches you that you can’t ever really win, and zombie chickens will murder everyone you love.